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Another Darkness, Another Dawn

A History of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

Vilified and marginalized, the Romani people—widely referred to as Gypsies, Roma, and Travellers—are seen as a people without place, either geographically or socially, no matter where they live or what they do. In this new chronological history of the Romani, Another Darkness, Another Dawn demonstrates how their experiences provide a way to understand mainstream society’s relationship with outsiders and immigrants.
Becky Taylor follows the Gypsies, Roma, and Travelers from their roots in the Indian subcontinent to their travels across the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires to Western Europe and the Americas, exploring their persecution and enslavement at the hands of others. Rather than seeing these peoples as separate from society and untouched by history, she sets their experiences in the context of broader historical changes. Their history, she reveals, is ultimately linked to the founding of empires; the Reformation and Counter-Reformation; numerous wars; the expansion of law, order, and nation-states; the Enlightenment; nationalism; modernity; and the Holocaust. Taylor also shows how the lives of the Romani today reflect the increasing regulation of modern society. Ultimately, she demonstrates that history is not always about progress: the place of Gypsies remains as contested and uncertain today as it was upon their first arrival in Western Europe in the fifteenth century.
As much a history of Europe as of the Romani, Another Darkness, Another Dawn paints a revealing portrait of a people who still struggle to be understood.

272 pages | 5 maps | 6 x 9 | © 2014

History: General History

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“An engaging tour-de-force of temporal political and policy practice across diverse localities. . . . Taylor presents a subtly nuanced picture of European Roma, showing the everyday lived reality of complex community relations, the impact of inter-marriage and personal contacts, which alleviate what could appear to be a relentlessly grim picture of centuries of bureaucratic and legislative oppression. . . . This book is highly suitable for the general reader and students alike, who require a clear grasp of the post-Enlightenment spread of nationalism and the impacts of changing political regimes on populations who are outside normative constructions of the ‘good citizen.’”

History Today

“Becky Taylor achieves something quite brilliant here. . . . What is particularly good is Taylor’s highlighting of the discrepancies between rulers’ edicts and legislation and the clues she has unearthed about the realities of everyday practices. . . . Taylor does not shy away from detailing the devastating effects of anti-Gypsy policies and practices. . . . Thanks to the greater availability of relevant documentation at the point in the historical record, Taylor is able to offer more direct quotes from Roma people themselves, adding depth to the narrative.”

Times Higher Education

“In this fine book, the historian Becky Taylor delivers a dramatic sweep of the struggles of travellers and gypsies to survive and the diverse forms of pernicious and at times murderous and extremist prejudice mobilized against them. The book develops an impressive and compelling longue durée history of Gypsies and Travellers combined with detailed histories of recent experiences and contexts. . . . this ambitious and passionate book makes a strong claim for the importance of understanding the persistent struggles of Gypsies and Travellers to survive. It also demonstrates that paying attention to the ways in which they have done so can illuminate broader processes of state formation and the constitutive spatial violences at their heart.”

Journal of Historical Geography

“In this ambitious book, Becky Taylor follows Roma people from their roots in the East to show how they become established in the West and beyond. She also looks at Europe’s other ethnic Travellers and weaves a gripping story of their part in the continent’s history. What sets Taylor’s work apart is that, wherever possible, she names the individual Gypsy and Traveller people in history. . . . Much of the book comes from the mouth of the people themselves, rather than just being another historian’s view. It’s essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the history behind how Gypsies and Travellers live today.”

Travellers’ Times

Table of Contents


Introduction: In Search of the ‘True Gypsy’?

1. Out of the Medieval World

2. Breaking Bodies, Banishing Bodies

3. The Dark Enlightenment

4. Nationalism, Race and Respectability

5. Into the Flames

6. A New Dawn?



Further Reading



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